‘New Engineering Education’ in Chinese Higher Education: Prospects and challenges

  • Tengteng Zhuang Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Xiaoshu Xu Wenzhou University
Keywords: higher education, engineering education, educational reform, China, new engineering education


Since becoming a formal signatory of the Washington Accord in 2016, China has outlined an initiative ‘New Engineering Education’ (NEE) to reform its engineering education at university level. This paper elaborates upon the NEE initiative by presenting analysis of its domestic and international context, the goals of the initiative, how the initiative draws upon international standards, major actions under the initiative, and the challenges remaining for NEE to achieve its goals. The paper argues that China views international practices and standards of engineering education in developed nations as highlands to imitate and surpass, and the NEE goals embody an ambitious systematic rather than partial reform of the sector. China has pushed forward the NEE reform with measures such as formulating National Standards for dozens of categories of engineering programs, commissioning 600+ research projects on NEE development, establishing new engineering programs and interdisciplinary courses, strengthening university-partnership, updating accreditation for engineering programs, and improving both external and internal quality assurance mechanism. The sector, however, still faces challenges in achieving systematic quality upgrade due to hindering factors like enlarged uneven resource allocation, downplayed teaching activities and the difficulties in reforming the curricula system. Expected changes are also discussed.

Received: 06 March 2018
Accepted: 07 November 2018
Published online: 29 November 2018

Author Biographies

Tengteng Zhuang, Chinese University of Hong Kong
TENGTENG ZHUANG (tengteng_zhuang@link.cuhk.edu.hk) is currently a doctoral student at the Department of Educational Administration and Policy, Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include higher education, comparative education, educational policy, and undergraduate STEM Education. Mr. ZHUANG received a bachelor’s degree of engineering at Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications in 2010 and the master’s degree of comparative education at Beijing Normal University in 2013. He worked as an administrative staff at the Office of Teaching Affairs, People’s Public Security University of China as an insider of Chinese higher education system from 2013-2017.
Xiaoshu Xu, Wenzhou University

XIAOSHU XU (lisaxu@wzu.edu.cn), corresponding author, received her Ph.D. in Education in City University of Macau, China. Her main research interests include teacher development, Personal Learning Environment, and PLE-based life-long learning. She is a senior lecturer in Wenzhou University, the vice Director of the Macau Education Development Research Association and the External Mentor of XJTLU. She has published a series of English text books and papers in the fields of teacher life-long learning.


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How to Cite
Zhuang, Tengteng, and Xiaoshu Xu. 2018. “‘New Engineering Education’ in Chinese Higher Education: Prospects and Challenges”. Tuning Journal for Higher Education 6 (1), 69-109. https://doi.org/10.18543/tjhe-6(1)-2018pp69-109.